It's a week short of two years since I reviewed the Nikon D80, at the time Nikon's top consumer digital SLR. I was very impressed by its superb build quality, creative versatility and excellent image quality, giving it 9/10 and a Recommended award. However all good things must come to an end, and the D80 has now been superseded by Nikon's new consumer DSLR, named with mathematical predictability the D90.
The new camera builds upon the D80's outstanding design, with a virtually identical body and control layout. The overall dimensions are exactly the same at 132 x 103 x 77 mm, but the D90 is significantly heavier, weighing 620g body-only against the D80's 585g.
Although it has many similarities to its predecessor, the D90 adds a number of new features including some from Nikon's professional DLSRs, and others that are currently unique. The sensor is upgraded to a newly-designed 23.6 x 15.8mm DX format CMOS sensor with a resolution of 12.3 megapixels and built-in sensor cleaning, the LCD monitor is the same incredibly sharp 3.0-inch, 920k unit from the D3 and D300, and it has a new viewfinder with 96 percent frame coverage.
As you're probably aware if you've read this far, the D90's main claim to fame is that it is the world's first digital SLR to feature video shooting capability, in high-definition 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 24 frames a second with mono audio. However this isn't the D90's only unique feature, beacuse it also has GPS location logging via an optional external satellite receiver which slots onto the flash hot-shoe. I'm hoping to take a look at this gadget when it is launched next week.
The D90 is available in a kit with another new product, the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm F/3.5-5.6G ED zoom lens, and it is this kit that I'm reviewing today. As a kit the camera and lens are currently selling for around £720, or around £585 body only, which makes it quite an expensive camera for most hobby photographers. For comparison, you can get a Sony Alpha A350 in a two-lens kit with an 18-70mm and a 55-200mm for around £540, the Canon EOS 450D with both an 18-55mm and a 55-250mm zoom lens for around £620, the Olympus E-520 with a 14-42mm and 70-300mm lens for around £680, or a Pentax K20D with 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses for just under £700.